Online provider of travel and entertainment solutions, lastminute.com, announced yesterday that it has accepted an invitation to join Spotlight project, aiming to investigate, prototype and test problems that need to be tackled in advanced Voiceweb and e-commerce projects.
The spotlight project is a three year enterprise, that aims to develop advanced voice operated e-commerce services for both the financial services industry and the travel industry. This may be the initiation of the `voice enabled internet`.
Consumers will be able to use their voices not only to access data and information, but also to conduct business transactions.
Project Spotlight is expected to cost 4.8M Euro and is being partially funded by the European Commission`s Information Society Technology.
The consortium is comprised of a group of major European organisations including Lloyds-TSB, British Midland, Periphonisa and CSELT SpA. Lastminute.com has been chosen to participate as a result of commitment it has shown in the past to the development of IVR (interactive voice recognition), with previous projects such as the lastminute.com Christmas catalogue. (Products could be ordered over the internet, but on the phone).
Voiceweb Director at Lastminute.com, Dominic Cameron, commented “lastminute.com is committed to exploring ways to bring the benefits of voice automation to both business and consumers”. They will be addressing issues including ease-of-use and multi-language components in order to provide a fully-effective and useful service.
Professor Mervyn Jack is responsible for co-ordinating project Spotlight and believes that the inclusion of lastminute.com will bring a welcome new direction to the project.